Milltek Sport Civic Cup – Rounds 7, 8 & 9
Knockhill – 22nd & 23rd July 2023
An action-packed weekend of racing in front of a large crowd at Knockhill culminated in rising star Max Edmundson securing a maiden win in the Milltek Sport Civic Cup. Dan Thackeray showed his class to secure a third win of the season in the official support championship to TCR UK, while local driver Liam McGill was also successful in the triple-header weekend.
One-time champion Alistair Camp picked up where he left off at Oulton Park, setting a searing pace in his Pro Alloys-run car to claim a double pole position.
Camp’s fastest time of the session was 0.14 seconds faster than next quickest Jack Harding (Ben Sharpe Racing), which may not sound much but considering almost the same gap covered the next five drivers, it was a blindingly quick, almost 80mph lap around the challenging, undulating circuit.
Dan Thackeray (Motion Motorsport) and Max Edmundson (Area Motorsport), despite a couple of excursions for the youngster, would line up on row two for the first race. Next up was Liam McGill, the Focus Cup champion making a one-off appearance at his local circuit driving Area’s car used at previous rounds by Luke Sargeant and Sam Kirkpatrick.
Ryan Bensley (Pro Alloys) completed the top six, ahead of Kirkpatrick (making his second appearance of the season, this time in the car regularly used by Louie Capozzoli) and Will Redford (Pro Alloys).
Grid positions for race two would be set based on the first race result (with the top 10 reversed), but drivers’ second fastest times determined their starting position for the finale. A slightly shuffled order put Edmundson alongside polesitter Camp, just 0.018s down on second-best times. Bensley, Thackeray and McGill were also within 0.1s of Camp’s time, with Harding, Kirkpatrick and Alex Kite (Pro Alloys) completing the front four rows.
Round 7 – Race Report
Camp shot away from pole position to lead the opening race on Saturday afternoon, with Thackeray using the inside line to slot into second and demote Harding to third. Edmundson, Bensley and McGill completed the early top six.
A searing pace allowed Camp to edge clear until he was undone by a mistake at the start of lap five of 16. Hitting the kerb too hard at Duffus Dip unsettled the car and spun it around, dropping the erstwhile leader to sixth.
So Thackeray inherited the lead, with Harding second, but the Yorkshireman’s race was also about to unravel – mechanical dramas forced him into the pits at the end of the next lap. It was a sad sight after Harding’s and BSR’s efforts to get a car ready in time after his big smash at Oulton Park.
That gave Thackeray a healthy 2s lead over the pursuing Edmundson, Bensley and McGill, and the Londoner was able to cruise to his third victory from the opening seven races of the season.
As Camp closed up to McGill in fourth, it briefly allowed third-placed Bensley to focus more on Edmundson in front, until McGill fired in the fastest lap of the race to make it a four-car train once more. But when McGill attacked Bensley, he ran wide at Clark which allowed Camp to slip past.
There were no more place changes on the road among the top five, so Edmundson and Bensley completed the podium behind Thackeray. But Camp and McGill were both hit with 5s penalties for track-limits offences, dropping them to eighth and 10th, respectively.
That promoted Redford to fourth, ahead of Bailey and Kite, with Kirkpatrick seventh after a little excursion.
Round 8 – Race Report
McGill’s penalty came with the silver lining of pole position for the reversed-grid race, with Dan Macdonald (Ben Sharpe Racing) alongside, and Camp and Kirkpatrick on row two of the grid.
On the inside line, Camp was able to steal second from Macdonald at the first corner, with a fast-starting Kirkpatrick following him past.
With Camp suffering from illness, McGill used his local knowledge to streak clear. The former BMW Compact Cup man set the fastest lap on his way to an impressive 4.5s victory on his first weekend in the championship.
Behind McGill, an exhausted Camp managed to hold on to second, only to be hit with another track-limits penalty, which dropped him to sixth. The Kirkpatrick and Edmundson battle therefore turned out to be for second position. After plenty of excellent, close racing and side-by-side moments, Edmundson clinched the place by diving past his Cumbrian rival at the hairpin.
Macdonald was fourth, his best result of the season. The Western Islander lost out to Bailey, only for Bailey to then run wide and drop to seventh, and withstood pressure from Bensley who was classified fifth.
Thackeray’s progress from 10th on the grid was limited to eighth after a couple of delays behind incidents, with Jordan Brennan and Harding – from the back of the grid – completing the top 10.
Round 9 – Race Report
Polesitter Camp was beaten off the line by Edmundson at the start of the finale, while Thackeray and McGill jumped third starter Bensley.
Further back, Oulton Park race winner Redford’s difficult weekend continued as he tangled with Jack Ruddell through the opening bends. Redford spun, while Ruddell ended in the barriers which brought out a safety car. From Redford’s point of view, that did at least allow the Pro Alloys driver to pit and have his car checked out before catching the back of the field.
At the restart, Edmundson caught the rest napping to immediately get a break. Keen to secure a maiden victory after four second-place finishes, the Durham driver drove a controlled race. But a couple of slightly ragged laps with that elusive victory within touching distance brought the pursuing Camp a little close for comfort.
A delighted and relieved Edmundson held on to secure his first win, a fine reward for blending the blistering pace he has shown this year with a little more patience. His efforts earned the commentators’ Driver of the Day nomination and a massive points haul from the weekend puts the youngster firmly back in title contention, despite his wretched weekend at Croft.
Camp was happy to bring his car home second, and Thackeray likewise in third, each strengthening their own title challenges. Bensley and McGill traded fourth before Bensley secured the position, and McGill was then hit with a track-limits penalty that dropped him to seventh.
Kirkpatrick passed Kite – who later went off at Duffus Dip – exiting the hairpin mid-race on his way to fifth. Sixth was Harvey Caton after a difficult trio of races, which began with a wild ride across the grass at the start of the opener.
Behind McGill, Macdonald and Pro Alloys pair Owen Hillman and Kite completed the top 10 ahead of team-mate Redford, who did well to recover to 11th, his lap times on par with the top six. But it was another tough race for Harding, who retired from sixth with an apparent misfire.
In the Goodyear Diamond Award, for drivers aged over 40, the honours were split evenly with a win apiece for Mark Hughes, Anthony Gannon and Simon Welch. First-year racer Gannon was delighted with his success, having been a keen follower of the championship for several years before getting behind the wheel himself.
Paul Winfield Trophy honours, for rookies and those without a podium in the previous two seasons, twice went to Edmundson, with McGill’s overall race win also securing a PWT victory.
Round 7 winner, Dan Thackeray
“The plan was to get into second off the start hopefully and follow Campy through the first couple of corners and then just see where we were. I think two or three laps behind Ali, I could see we had a tiny gap to Jack behind, so I thought, ‘We can have a good race now,’ and put the pressure on him. I felt like I had a good pace behind him and he just caught those kerbs on Turn 1, unsettled the car. We’ve all done it.
“I felt like I was due a bit of luck after what happened at the last meeting, so I’ll take it however it comes. Motion Motorsport have made me a great car, it’s been great today.”
Round 8 winner, Liam McGill
“Last night I found out that I’d be starting on pole so this morning when I woke up, that’s all I could vision – just getting a good start and a clean getaway. That’s exactly what happened so it was good. I thought I would have a little bit more pressure but I think the guys must have been battling so left me some breathing space – but more time to think and start making mistakes!”
Round 9 winner, Max Edmundson
“I’ve been there or thereabouts lots of times but hadn’t quite got it. I’ve had four seconds this year, so I’ve been close, but I’ve eventually got it. I was just trying not to make mistakes and by overthinking about not making mistakes, I was making mistakes! But I pulled a big enough gap earlier in the race so I made up for it, didn’t I?”
Next time – Cadwell Park!
The 2023 Milltek port Civic Cup is back in action in 3 weeks time, on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th of August, where rounds 10 & 11 will take place at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire.
Tickets for this event can be purchased at the following link: https://www.cadwellpark.co.uk/2023/august/brscc